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Tragic deaths of musicians

Tupac Shakur

On the evening of Sept. 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur and his record company chief, Marion “Suge” Knight, attended the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight boxing match at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting on a crowded street a block from the Vegas Strip. Despite the public setting and the victim’s notoriety, no one has ever been arrested for the killing.

Click here for more of Tupac’s story. (Paramount Pictures)

The Tejano music star was killed when she was 23. At the time of her death, Selena was in the middle of recording her first English-language album. The young star was killed on March 31, 1995, by Yolanda Saldivar, a woman she thought of as a close friend and the manager of her fan club. Saldivar was convicted of the murder and is serving a life sentence. (Paul Howell / Houston Chronicle)
The Notorious B.I.G.

Christopher Wallace, popularly known as Biggie Smalls and the Notorious B.I.G., was a 24-year-old rap sensation from Brooklyn, N.Y. He was shot to death in 1997 as he sat in a car preparing to leave a music industry party at the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. (Associated Press)
John Lennon

The Beatle was shot to death on Dec. 8, 1980, in front of his wife Yoko Ono, outside the Dakota, the Manhattan apartment building where they lived. Lennon’s assailant was Mark David Chapman, who had earlier in the day secured Lennon’s signature. Chapman was charged with second degree murder and remains in prison. (Associated Press)
Jam Master Jay

The founder and DJ of Run-DMC, whose real name was Jason Mizell, was gunned down at the age of 37 in a New York recording studio in October 2002. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and the surviving members of Run-DMC soon announced the group’s retirement. (Associated Press)
Marvin Gaye

The R&B star was shot and killed on April 1, 1984, one day before he would have turned 45. The Motown legend was killed by his own father, allegedly over a business dispute. Marvin Gay Sr. pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years of probation; he died in 1998.


An earlier version of this caption said Gaye was murdered by his own father and identified the older man as Marvin Gaye Sr. In fact, Marvin Gay Sr. -- who used the original family spelling of the surname -- was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not murder, as the caption notes. (Motown Archives)
Sam Cooke

One of the more debated, and bizarre deaths in rock ‘n’ roll history, here’s the abbreviated story, taken from the archives of the Los Angeles Times: Cooke was shot on Dec. 11, 1965, by a clerk at the Hacienda Motel in southwestern Los Angeles. Cooke had gone there with a woman who claimed that he had abducted and tried to rape her. When she fled with his trousers, Cooke broke down the door of the manager’s office looking for her. The manager, a 55-year-old woman, fired the fatal shot; the shooting was later ruled justifiable. Two of the bullets missed, but one struck Cooke in the chest, prompting him to remark, “Lady, you shot me.” (Associated Press)
From the staff of the Los Angeles Times

Bryan Harvey

Harvey, left, was the singer in blues rock duo House of Freaks, and also performed alongside Steve Wynn in the acclaimed college rock group Gutterball. Harvey, along with his wife and two children, were found dead in the basement of his Richmond, Va., home on Jan. 1, 2006, victims of two men allegedly on a crime spree. He’s pictured here with House of Freaks drummer Johnny Hott in 1988, who discovered the bodies and called 911. Hott was arriving at the house to attend a New Year’s Day party. (Los Angeles Times)